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Joshua Boyle, Canadian hostage in Afghanistan, facing several charges

Boyle will appear in Ottawa court on Wednesday to face 15 charges, including sexual assault and forcible confinement.

Canadian Joshua Boyle, who returned to Canada in October 2017 after being held hostage for five years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, appeared in Ottawa court on New Year's Day and remains in police custody.

Torstar News Service Order this photo

Canadian Joshua Boyle, who returned to Canada in October 2017 after being held hostage for five years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, appeared in Ottawa court on New Year's Day and remains in police custody.

OTTAWA—Joshua Boyle, the Canadian man who was held hostage with his American wife and children for five years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been arrested and charged with assault, unlawful confinement and other offences that are alleged to have occurred in the weeks since his dramatic rescue from captivity in October.

Boyle, 34, appeared in Ottawa court on New Year’s Day and remains in police custody.

There is a court order that prevents publication of information that would identify any of the alleged victims.

Boyle faces 15 charges, according to a court document outlining the allegations.

These include:

  • Eight counts of assault;
  • Two counts of sexual assault;
  • Two counts of unlawful confinement;
  • One count of uttering death threats;
  • One count of causing someone to “take a noxious thing, namely Trazodone;” and
  • One count of misleading police.

All of the alleged offences occurred in Ottawa between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30, the document says.

Boyle’s lawyer Eric Granger told the Star that his client is presumed innocent and that he is “eager to see” the evidence in the case.

“Mr. Boyle is a young man who we all know has been through a lot. He has never been in trouble with the law,” Granger wrote in an email.

“We look forward to receiving that evidence and defending him against these charges in court.”

Boyle is scheduled to appear in an Ottawa courtroom Wednesday morning.

Boyle, his wife Caitlan and their three children — all of whom were born in captivity — returned to Canada on Oct. 13, after Pakistani forces rescued them from the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, which had held them hostage since October 2012, when Boyle and his wife were captured while backpacking in Afghanistan.

In a statement to the Star, Caitlan wrote, “I can’t speak about the specific charges, but I can say that ultimately it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this.

“Obviously, he is responsible for his own actions,” she wrote, “but it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him. As to the rest of us, myself and the children, we are healthy and holding up as well as we can.”

Boyle’s brother, Dan, told the Star in an interview Tuesday that his family wants Joshua to receive mental health treatment. Dan said that Boyle has been living with his wife and children in east-end Ottawa and was arrested Monday morning.

“I’ve spoken with his wife, Caitlan, she’s fine. The children are fine,” Dan said, adding that Caitlan’s parents, who are from Pennsylvania, are in Ottawa.

“I know that they were put through hell for five years,” he said.

In an interview with the Star 12 days after their release, Caitlan said that she and her husband were transferred from Afghanistan to Pakistan soon after they were kidnapped.

The 31-year-old gave birth to three children while in captivity and told the Star that her captors terminated another pregnancy by dosing her with estrogen. She said this was in retaliation for her husband’s refusal to join the Haqqani network.

She said that she was raped during her captivity, and that she and her family were often drugged and put in the trunk of a vehicle when being transported to different locations.

Caitlan said that, on Oct. 11, 2017, they were placed in the trunk of their kidnappers’ car, after which a gunfight broke out and they were freed by Pakistani security forces.

Boyle had earlier told the Star that he was hit by shrapnel during the ordeal, and that the last thing he heard his captors say was “Kill the hostages.”

All three of the children — boys age 4 and 2, and an infant daughter — have undergone tests at the children’s hospital in Ottawa. Caitlan was also receiving medical attention in October but said she had been recovering.

Boyle told the Star after their release that the family was eager to start rebuilding their life in North America.

“We’re looking forward to a new lease on life,” he said at the time.

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